My last bottle. Pop and poured. Aromas are very lovely, rich and soft, but smooth dark red fruit in complexion. Nice evolved aromas without smelling heavy, old, or youthful... nice middle aged wine. Soft fruit on the palate entry which is mild, but if you choose to swish this around for more than a few seconds it develops a slight metallic fruit complexion as its held in the mouth. The finish shows some mushrooms and more of that tart metallic notion. Tannins are still very strong and unfortunately bitter. This wine was very enjoyable in its youth but I don't think it has aged for the better, though better than most Languedoc wines I've had.
Popped and poured, consumed over 4 hours. Nose: Medium-plus expressiveness, a barnyard lined with rose and lavender - super interesting, undertones of spice and blue fruits. Palate: Medium bodied, sweet blue and black fruit attack, spicy mid-palate presence, great balance, very clean and precise, not great depth but very harmonious at the moment. Finish: Medium-plus length dominated by spicy blue and black fruits. My last of 3 bottles purchased from Garagiste and I truly believe I hit the peak with this - drinking wonderfully tonight - can not imagine this getting any better than right now.
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One of the more endearing memories (and stories) of last year was the all-woman winery that (literally) came to my rescue with a horse and buggy full of 6ft tall Dutch woman while I was stranded in the middle of nowhere in the south of France (after a flat tire) - exhausted, thirsty and simply down and out. The buggy full of Dutch girls turned out to be the owners of a small, unknown winery called Mas des Dames (I was not hallucinating - they really were 6ft tall and the winery is translated as "farm of the women"). That moment on the side of the road began a story that many of you eagerly ask me to recant (like a child waiting for bed time story) and I've received an outpouring of comments regarding this story (from customers and even national magazines that asked me to write about it - I haven't had time yet). I can vividly remember the encounter as I type this and it makes me smile the way my life has meandered down many paths that appeared to be random at the time but were all meant to be. That chance meeting that led to one of the finest winery discoveries of last year and I predicted at the time that Mas des Dames would become the lynchpin of a region that has been searching for one under $20.
That promise has now been realized (albeit, quicker than I thought) with the highest rated wine in the Wine Spectator review of the Languedoc posted to their site a few days ago. For that accomplishment alone (from a completely unknown entity only a few months ago to one that has now been broadcast to the world as the next must-have) they deserve the IMPORTANT tag on this offer. The wine isn't bad either.
I first tasted the 2005 last summer when I was there cementing our deal for the 2004 vintage (after they opened a bottle for me). The 2004 was quite good and it introduced the winery to everyone but the 2005 (still in barrel) was a wine to drop everything for (I did - I cancelled all of my appointments so I could stay the afternoon) - the 2005 was drop-dead gorgeous. I only hoped it would survive the barrel ageing process ready to exclaim to the world "I have arrived" and indeed it has (keep in mind, I only agreed to taste their wines to be nice because they had come to my rescue - I was expecting country-plonk not the next Bonneau-like woman-owned and operated magic cellar). Sometimes, life smiles on you and in this case I was just plain lucky. Relationships are important and this one has been very kind to me.
With that in mind, there are only 150 cases of this wine for the US with no more to be had. Due to my horse and buggy relationship with them, we are getting basically all of it (if you want it, of course). This is simple - if you are into Chateaneuf du Pape, Priorat or any of the Mediterranean-inspired wine produced with old-vine Grenache and Carignan (and Syrah), this wine is at another level for its price-point and (most importantly) it holds back a great deal instead of throwing an over-oaked mess in your face (there is no oak). It is stylish, real, very deep and deliciously meaty with a pure tone often absent from the Languedoc - it is also low in alcohol the way CdP was back in the early 1980s (last year's 2004 Mas des Dames was only 12.8-13.0% and this year it is 13.1-13.3%). The wine is an obvious expression of feminine winemaking and a tender hand - it stands out among so many rustic examples that almost achieve their goal but never quite get there - this wine races past the finish line with much in reserve for a rainy day and keeps getting better every time I try it (scary, considering I was so enamored with it last year).
Without a doubt in my mind, one of the very best price/value wines on the world market and an entity that is trying to do everything right - sometimes the good guys (or gals) get recognized and the 2005 Mas des Dames is worth a place in your heart and your cellar:
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (one of the highest recommendations of the year so far)
We have a terrific price on this wine, about the same as at the winery cellar in the south of France.
Please note: This is not "Mas de la Dame" from Provence - you can find that pretty much anywhere and there will be a ton of listings for their various cuvees. The wine we offer below is Mas des Dames (no "la") from the Languedoc (there will be few, if any, listings for it anywhere in the world - it's too limited).